Monday, April 12, 2010
The wind has settled again to a fairly gentle 5-10knot sou-westerly. Although I really appreciate having a break from the tough conditions of a couple of days ago, its still no walk in the park. With next to no wind to keep the boat steady, she flops around all over the place in the mountainous swells that are a fixture out here. The conditions have been constant for a while now, in fact I had over 12 hours without having to alter the sail settings at all! With no more dramatic events to report (yes all the fun does seem to happen at once), I'll try to respond to some of my blog followers: the reference to bananas on board was simply alluding to the maritime myth that bananas on board brings bad luck. I believe it now. No the boat does not have an extra heavy keel so it is more stable in the swell. The boat, an S&S 34, is designed for heavy ocean sailing. I do have a slightly smaller rig, including a storm jib that I use in conjunction with a reduced mainsail area and I find that balances the boat really well in the heavy seas and winds. Yes the 12 volt oven does use a bit of power but I need to eat proper meals or I'll never last the distance! My hands don't work well enough to be able to prepare meals on a stove. (Great excuse to get out of the cooking). I have a genset on board, which I use when the oven is on and it also charges the batteries. How do I keep my balance? With great difficulty at times! My damaged big toe and destroyed microwave is evidence of this. The inside of the cabin is deliberately designed to be very uncluttered, without things that may cause me damage if I happen to bounce around. Its a bit like a padded cell really. I have developed techniques to handle myself with the movement of the boat and am now finding that as time goes on my movements are becoming more "natural" and less thought through and I have less likelihood of coming adrift. I do have particular positions where I can wedge myself safely. Of course I am always attached to the boat with a safety harness when outside. The toughest part of being out here is the isolation and not having anyone to talk to and bounce ideas around. Yes Geoff, I do talk to myself! I probably shouldn't say too much here or I might be met by men in white coats when I get to Hobart, but I do get into conversation with myself. I'm finding I am taking on the characters in the talking books which is quite entertaining! My daily satellite phone call in the evening is the high point of my day. I struggle to comprehend how the likes of Jon Sanders, David Dicks and others in times past did without modern communication and managed to stay sane. I'm in awe of them.